Editor's Note
What price justice?
A group of Filipino workers may be looking at a happier Christmas after the POEA ruled in their favor in an illegal fee case they filed against a well-entrenched agency, Findstaff.

The recruitment firm which prides itself as the first to be given accreditation by the POEA, lost its licence after the OFWs courageously kept up their fight, despite threats to their jobs.

All seven who stayed on as complainants are now happy enough to have been proved right, and get back their hard-earned money.

But they and their supporters, notably our friend, Bishop Gerry Vallo, are also humbled about having caused the mighty agency to fall to its knees. Details...

Anak Araw
Ano na, Sec?
Pigil-hininga ang paghihintay namin sa gagawin ni Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz tungkol sa ipinadala sa kanya ng Konsulado sa Hong Kong na report sa mga ginawa ng dating labor attache na si Dodong Roldan.

Nakakalungkot man, hindi maikakatwa na sa report ay dapat may panagutan si Roldan. Details...

Migrant's Forum
HK at The SUN, may espesyal na lugar sa duyan ng mga alaala
Hindi biro ang mag-iwan ng pamilya sa Pilipinas lalo't maliliit pa ang mga anak. Pero dahil sa kahirapan ay nagpursige talaga akong mangibang-bansa na tanging ang kinabukasan ng aking mga anak ang nasa isip.

Taong 1990 nang iniwan ko ang aking pamilya para maiahon ko sila sa kahirapan. Masakit man subalit wala akong nagawa dahil ayaw kong maranasan nila ang naranasan ko na lumaki sa mga tiyahin para lang makapag-aral. Details...

Know Your Rights
The ILO Convention 189 (2nd part)
This is our second article in a series explaining the ILO Convention 189. This C189 was approved by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as their recognition that domestic work is work. Thus, if it is a work, then all domestic workers must be protected under the law, specifically, under the Labour Ordinance in Hong Kong or in the Philippines, the Labour Law.

This will be a series of articles because we will explain every Article in the C189 for the understanding and knowledge of migrant domestic workers. Details...

Sala sa init

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`Concert in the Park' rocks Pinoys, others at TST harbour front

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Fate B softbelles in stunning debut

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Huli ka

See this month's stories...

Chinese Horoscope   
Ano ang hatid ng Disyembre sa iyo

See this month's stories...

Your Daily News   
  Phil. Daily Inquirer
  Manila Times

  May 2013 Hong Kong News   
Filipina appeals removal order to be with resident kid
A Filipina fighting to remain in Hong Kong to be with her underage daughter who holds permanent resident status here has elevated her battle to the Court of Appeal.

Milagros Tecson Comilang, a former domestic helper, has appealed a decision of the Court of First Instance rejecting her challenge to the Director of Immigration's repeated refusal to extend her permission to stay in the territory.

The Court of Appeal has reserved its judgment after hearing arguments on Apr. 16.

The lower court ruling, which was handed down in June last year, also denied Comilang's petition for a judicial review of the Commissioner of Registration's rejection of her application for a Hong Kong permanent identity card.

The outcome of the case could have serious implications for all Filipino children who have been granted right of abode, but whose parents do not share this status. Such is the case of about two dozen children of Filipino domestic workers who were granted permanent residency about three to four years ago.

At the appeal hearing, Comilang's counsel, Gladys Li, SC, described the legal proceeding before Justices Peter Cheung, Frank Stock and Joseph Paul Fok as a special case involving a child who is underage, a minority and who requires the constant presence of a parent.

Comilang first came to the city in 1997. Shortly after her last contract was terminated on July 13, 2005, she underwent an Islamic marriage with a certain Shaker Ahmed, a Hong Kong permanent resident. She subsequently applied for a change of her immigration status to remain in the city as a dependant of her husband.

Pending the processing of her application, the Director of Immigration did not extend Comilang's permission to stay, which expired on Oct. 10, 2005.

Then, in February 2006, the already overstaying Comilang gave birth to Zahrah Ahmed, who acquired permanent resident status through her father and by virtue of her being born in Hong Kong.

Ahmed, the husband, was subsequently discovered to be in a subsisting marriage at the time he married Comilang. He later withdrew his sponsorship of the Filipina's change of status application.

Since then, Comilang has resisted several orders for her leave so she could stay with her daughter, whom she wants to remain in the territory to enjoy her rights as a permanent resident. The child is a co-applicant in the case.

While recognizing the state's right to control who stays in Hong Kong, Li argued that the immigration department should allow a custodial parent the right to stay in the interest of the child.

The Court, warned Li, should consider the impact of their decision because, in compelling Comilang to leave, the child essentially loses her right of abode.

Li also questioned the fairness of allowing unmarried children below 18 years of age to be dependants of parents, and yet denying the same right to a resident child and her parent.

On the other hand, Anderson Shek, counsel for the Director of Immigration, wanted the Court to clarify what a child's right of abode entailed.

"To what extent can (the child's right of abode) be relied upon (by) the mother (who has) no right of abode?" asked Shek.

Foreign nationals are allowed to sponsor their relatives as dependants. In exceptional cases, the Director of Immigration also has the discretion to allow other foreign nationals to stay in Hong Kong on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

However, in the appealed 50-page judgment, Presiding Justice Johnson Lam had stated that the courts will not lightly interfere with the Director's exercise of discretion and that "humanitarian considerations are not reviewable in courts" (Lau Kong Yung vs Director Immigration [1999]).

Judge Lam also ruled that it was not necessary for the court to come to any conclusion on the impact of the refusal of Tecson's extension of stay on the future of Zahrah Ahmed.

He further rejected the argument that Comilang needed to leave Hong Kong with her daughter, simply because she had custody of the child.

"The Family Court has jurisdiction to reconsider the question of custody when (Comilang) has to leave Hong Kong. One option is to grant custody to the father. Another option is to grant leave to relocation. It is entirely a matter for the Family Court to decide in view of the prevailing circumstances and the best interest of the child," said Justice Lam.

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